How’s this for a bit of fascinating research? If you pretend to be in love, you can actually fall in love for real!
In Neurolinguistic Programming and Hypnosis training circles there’s an adage that is often used, “fake it ’til you make it” which is essentially based upon the idea that if you are unable to feel a trance effect then play a game with yourself that you pretend as if you do and pretend so well with the imagination so involved that essentially you begin to experience the target state.
A number of recent studies into the likes of speed dating and arranged marriages has found that folks who behave as if they are in love tend to fall into actual love. Essentially, this means you can create a genuine love state for yourself by acting as if you are in love and allowing your mind to begin to feel the feelings. Obviously, those of us familiar with Eroticatrance style erotic hypnosis can have a huge jump on that process.
Richard Wiseman (http://richardwiseman.wordpress.com) is one of my favorite mass culture psychologists. He’s Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom and is rather prolific and a lot of fun to read. His recent experimental study involving speed dating has demonstrated some rather interesting effects that those of us interested in hypnosis, intimacy, seduction, erotic intimacy and the like might wish to pay particular interest to. The results of his study is being published in his new book Rip It Up (my copy’s on order).
Eddie Wren reports on the study and the implications.
If you want to feel in love, perhaps you should fake it until you make it.
A new study by leading psychologist Richard Wiseman says that behaving as if you find someone attractive increases your susceptibility to their charms, and increases the likelihood of you falling in love with them.
His study suggests that behaviour can lead to emotions just as much as emotions can lead to behaviour, and may suggest reasons for the relative success of arranged marriages versus conventional marriages.
Separate research suggests those in arranged marriages – or who have had their partner chosen for them by a parent or matchmaker – tend to feel more in love as time grows, whereas those in regular marriages feel less in love over time.
Richard Wiseman is an author whose books I quite enjoy so seeing he’s been doing this research is very positive indeed.
How did he test his theories? Speed dating, of course!
To test the theory of behaviour affecting emotions, Prof Wiseman, of the University of Hertfordshire, held a speed-dating night, where some of the prospective partners were asked to act as though they were already in love with each other.
The specific test sequence for the experiment is actually readily reproduceable:
The 100 volunteers, taking part in the study in Edinburgh, were encouraged to hold hands, gaze into each other’s eyes, and whisper secrets to each other, according to the Daily Telegraph.
When questioned at the end on their feelings, 45 per cent of those who had ‘acted in love’ wanted to see each other again – more than double the average rate of 20 per cent.
‘Couples’ were asked to make eye contact, smile a lot, and whisper secrets, which led to real fledgeling relationships
Prof Wiseman said: ‘This is a remarkable finding. Just as people feel happier when they force their face into a smile, so pairs of people behaving as if they find one another attractive became emotionally close.
‘The assumption was that the emotion leads to the action or behaviour, but this shows it can happen the other way round.
‘Behaving like you are in love can lead to actually falling in love. People are always going about positive thinking when this suggest positive action is just as valid.
‘We actually had a problem stopping people. We had go around pulling couples apart.’
The results are published tomorrow in Pro Wiseman’s new book, Rip It Up, which is described as ‘ripping up the rule book, psychologist Richard Wiseman presents a radical new insight into your body and brain.
‘Actions are the quickest, easiest and most powerful way to instantly change how you think and feel.’
Essentially, you want to feel attraction and love? Behave as if you’re in love. Ideally, create an internal state of those feelings as well. I would suggest that you not just do the behaviors as actions but you focus on also feeling as if you feel the emotions. In NLP circles, we’d associate this with rapport building along with congruence of what we do and what we feel.
In seperate research, Harvard academic Dr Robert Epstein has studied the subject of arranged marriages for eight years, looking at the approaches taken in cultural groups including Indian, Pakistani and Orthodox Jewish.
He has interviewed more than 100 couples in arranged marriages to assess their strength of feeling and studied his findings against more than 30 years of research into love in Western and arranged marriages.
His work suggests that feelings of love in love matches begin to fade by as much as a half in 18 months, whereas the love in the arranged marriages tends to grow gradually, surpassing the love in the unarranged marriages at about the five-year mark.
The connection felt by those in arranged marriages is said to be around twice as strong. Relationship experts claim this is because arranged matches are carefully considered, with thought going into whether potential partners’ families, interests and life goals are compatible.
This means they are more likely to commit for life – and to stick together through rocky patches.
Essentially, arranged marriages can become much stronger over time.
As an aside, when I’ve been invited to India to teach various hypnosis and trancework programs as well as acting workshops (based on the Trance Acting protocols), one area that invariably fascinates folks is that I am in what they refer to as a “Love Marriage” in order to distinguish that type of relationship from what they consider the more typical “Marriage” – which folks in my culture refer to as “Arranged Marriage.” On my last trip to India, I found it fascinating to see programs on several television channels with discussions on how arranged marriages tend to be much more secure and have longevity over love marriages.
In any case . . . they found, as did the recent studies by Western researchers that . . .
Those who marry for love, on the other hand, tend to be blinded by passion and so overlook these crucial details.
When the going gets tough, they are more likely to view the situation simply as a natural end to their romantic dream – a way of fate telling them something is wrong with the relationship.
With soaring divorce rates and record numbers of single-parent households in the West, researchers suggest it is time to rethink the Western approach to love.
He said: ‘The idea is we must not leave our love lives to chance. We plan our education, our careers and our finances but we’re still uncomfortable with the idea that we should plan our love lives. I do not advocate arranged marriages but I think a lot can be learned from them.
‘In arranged marriages, thought goes into the matching. In the West, physical attraction is important. But people must be able to distinguish lust from love. Strong physical attraction is very dangerous, it can be blinding.
‘In the West marriages are easy to get out of. But in arranged marriages, the commitment is very strong. They get married knowing they won’t leave, so when times are harder – if they face injury or trauma – they don’t run away. It brings them closer.’
Francine Kaye, relationship expert and author of The Divorce Doctor, added: ‘There is an awful lot to be said for arranged marriages. They are determined to make it work.
‘I have seen in arranged marriages in the Orthodox Jewish community that the parents very carefully look at compatibility – it is not left to chance. They do their homework on their characteristics, their values, morals and life goals.
Of course, a big factor in this long term success is the cultural presupposition that this is all quite normal and that children seek out parental advice. I live in Taiwan and while arranged marriages are far less common, I know a number of folks – including younger ones – who have relied upon their parents to help them find a match through matchmaking services (albeit, often after failing to find an appropriate match on their own).
‘It should be pointed out that arranged marriages work because culturally marriage is seen differently. We have a very romantic view of marriage. Theirs is more pragmatic.
‘There is a downside to arranged marriages though – no matter how pragmatic you are in choosing a partner, there always needs to be chemistry.’
By the way, if you’re in Taipei and interested in hypnosis, check the services page linked to in the top left sidebar. Not in Taipei, check the store for recordings in the same menu area as well as links to lots and lots of info and goodies.